The Ferriday Board of Aldermen approved its 2019-20 budget Thursday (June 20) at a special meeting and also approved an ordinance to raise sewer rates from $16.50 to $17.50 for residential while raising the usage rates on the two prisons on Hwy. 15.

The Town of Ferriday has 970 residential connections, 134 commercial connections and the two prisons.

Mayor Sherrie McMahon said a $354,761 state sewer grant would be used to build new lift stations on Fudickar and Concordia Avenue.

Ken Terry with the Louisiana Rural Water Association told the aldermen at the meeting the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency advise towns to have a sustainability factor of 1.1.

Ferriday's sustainable rate was 1.03 before the adjustment.

"You were really cutting it close, and if the USDA is not happy with that number they will give their money to someone else," Terry said.

During a presentation which aldermen viewed on a screen, Terry changed figures to see how it would affect the sustainable rate.

At first, the board looked at going up to $23.50 on residential rates from $16.50.

Terry then typed in $17.50 for residential with $2.50 charge per 1000 gallons.

"Someone with a fixed income will not be affected as much," Terry said, alluding to the charge per gallons of sewage water used. 

Terry kept residential at $50, but raised the charge per 1000 gallons from $2 to $3 on both prisons to go alone with its $300 monthly minimum.

That adjustment put the sustainable factor at 1.10.

Currently, total expenses are $475,749 while revenue is $325,765.19 for a loss of $149,963.81.

With the adjustment, total revenue will be $523,796.97 and proposed operating budget needs will be $475,479 for a gain of $48,047.97.

A public hearing will be held on July 9 before the sewer rate is approved.

The 2019-20 budget passed unanimously.

The proposed budget shows a profit of $15,462.

Revenue includes $1,125,000 in sales tax, $354,761 in grant income, $350,000 in fines and DWI and $185,000 in garbage.

Expenses include $876,000 for salaries -- $44,000 for McMahon and $30,600 for aldermen.

The town pays $156,000 in its garbage contract and $354,761 for grant expenditures.

Ferriday alderwoman Chryl Smith-Lee, who is on the finance committee, wanted to add $67.50 to the budget for drug testing, which is mandatory, and adjust travel expenses.

"I understand everyone wanting to go to the LMA convention, but if there is a meeting you do not have to attend, do not attend," Smith-Lee said.

Smith-Lee said she would also like to see the police department generating enough money to pay for its own utilities.


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